THE LEGACY & INFLUENCE OF TAMARA DE LEMPICKA
An Art Deco icon, a female dandy, and artist Tamara de Lempicka’s legacy continues to influence societal norms and pop culture today. I truly enjoy finding associations and connections between art inspirations in each other and despite not being an art critic, I still enjoy using this platform to share my views on how I perceive the world and what inspires me. I recently checked out the Tamara de Lempicka show at @palaciodegaviria with a friend, and I'll admit I knew only a little about the artist and recognized some of her iconic works from the book covers of Ayn Rand classics, (Atlas Shrugged, and The Fountainhead) but I wasn't sure why I kept thinking of Madonna's videos in the 90's that I grew up watching. First of all, I haven't watched a Madonna 90's video since MTV stopped playing music videos which has been a while. It wasn't so much the art deco aesthetic that is recognizable and apparent, but something about the artist herself, even her life, reminded me of Madonna's 'Express Yourself' video directed by David Fincher. There are similar elements in the video " Vogue" as well . So of course I had to do a little investigating and read that the artist is indeed one of Madonna's favorite artists and greatest inspirations. Madonna has collected four of her art works, in fact, Madonna's Open Your Heart video (1987) starts with the entrance of the erotic theatre decorated with a massive reproduction of Lempicka’s Andromeda (which Madonna owns) and La Belle Rafaela ( a muse and lover of the artist).
The artist ‘s figures have been often compared to Ingres's fleshy and distorted bathers in the work, Turkish Baths (1862) as well as Picasso’s Two Nudes (1905) and Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907).
Art historian Joan Cox argues that "[Lempicka] has chosen to crop her view of the female bathers tightly and give the viewer - a presumably female viewer - the experience of joining in the frolicking. She invites the female viewer in as a lover rather than creating an experience for a male viewer as a distant voyeur into this all female public space." Indeed, works like the nude groupings by Ingres and Picasso presume a male viewer as, at the least, the artists themselves were males. Lempicka subverts that dynamic and, in a way, excludes male viewers altogether.
Other contemporary artists such as Steven Meisel, Karl Lagerfeld and Eugenio Recuenco ( as you will see in images below) have recreated the colour compositions and geometrical stylization inspired by many of the artist's portraits presented at the exhibition. I also believe her influence today was not just the legacy of her art work but the independent and scandalous life she led in the roaring 20's. She was often referred to as “ the Baroness with a brush”. She never felt limited by society's constraints, and although she was married, she was openly bisexual, had many lovers, took drugs and said :
The artist lived all over the world and her death is equally fascinating, if your interested in reading more, have a look at these:
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